5 December 2016
State Agricultural Minister, the Hon Mark Lewis, recently met with local farmers from throughout the Wanneroo electorate to discuss growers concerns regarding the Department of Water’s recent proposal to cut all water allocations on the Gnangara Mound by 25% in Carabooda, Nowergup and Neerabup over the next 7 years.
The Minister visited two major fruit and vegetable growers where he met with numerous local growers from throughout the area as well as visiting Australia’s leading wholesale nursery, Benara Nurseries.
Growers’ concerns related to the effect that this proposal would have on their ability to continue to grow produce right here in Wanneroo and also the additional cost and effect that moving further north would have on their ability to retain and hire new staff.
Also discussed was the need to have a new master plan drawn up for the area which would include the expansion of the current horticultural precinct into the area of pine plantation directly adjacent to North Wanneroo.
Wanneroo MP, the Hon Paul Miles, who organised for the growers to meet with the Minister, said the meeting was extremely valuable in that it allowed growers to air their concerns and suggestions directly with the Minister.
“There’s no substitute for personal visits such as these, which allow Ministers to not only talk with the people on the ground about the real issues and challenges they face, but also to take that knowledge into consideration when policies are being formulated and decisions made.
“In September I also established a Working Group comprising of representatives from Vegetables WA, the horticultural industry, the City of Wanneroo and the Departments of Planning, Water and Agriculture and Food, whose aim is to assess these issues and make recommendations for a sustainable horticultural industry in the long term.
“A number of valuable ideas were brought forward from this working group, including the possibility of using treated wastewater from the Alkimos Wastewater Treatment Plant to water local farms as well as the need to investigate the possibility of expanding the Agricultural precinct into the pine plantations that are directly adjacent to the North Wanneroo Horticultural area.
“The working group’s final recommendations are currently being formulated and will be released over the coming months,” Mr Miles said.